Sunday, October 28, 2012

Country Lips and Contraband Countryband at The Blue Moon 10-27-12

I hadn't been to the Blue Moon in many moons. I think the last time I was there I saw Jr. Cadillac. I will bet that was 30 years ago.

I remember walking in and seeing Ned and the boys up on stage, he smiled and waved at me as I walked in. Jr. Cadillac was one of the best party bands in the area, I loved them and saw them many times. They are still active after 42 years, amazing. I will be on the lookout for one of their shows. See Jr. Cadillac here:

The good news is that great new music is being performed in a place that hasn't changed a bit since I last came in. The faces have changed, there are new posters on the wall, but the wood booths and benches are still there. The place is as comfortable as a worn shoe. Maybe you aren't going to wear it to a wedding, but you don't mind pulling it on for another Saturday night.

Here is one of the fine staff doing what he does good (always my recommendation).

The Blue Moon is on the edge of the University District. The University of Washington is a huge school located just northwest of downtown Seattle. The neighborhood is a mix of apartments, dorms, condos and homeless camps. The bar has a strange mix of college students and neighborhood locals. Some of these locals are, how do you say...a little salty? It just adds a little flavor to the place, I think most of them are harmless, even the bums!

The Husky Game was on, a good source of entertainment while we waited for the bands to start. They did start very late, I am not sure if they were just waiting for the game to get over but the first band didn't come on until 10:45. The Dawgs prevailed over The Beavers, a tight game right up to the end. I am a season ticket holder, however I skipped this year as they are playing in the Seahawks stadium. Here is a link to the UW:

Country Lips was a band that I had been looking forward to seeing. I had missed them at The Comet earlier in the year. I remember I had a tough decision that evening, I decided on another venue. I did pick up their CD and have loved it since. Here is a pic of some of the band decorating the stage in their disturbing Insane Clown Posse costumes.

First up was Contraband Countryband, a local Seattle band that I had not heard before. They are influenced by Creedence, Willie, Waylon and Johnny Paycheck, with a little Iron Butterfly added for spice. They mounted up in full costume, the lead singer never took off his mask. How he performed in that I don't know, but his voice came out clear.

There were some screaming guitars coming from these guys. I didn't see a bass and their Facebook page shows 5 guys so maybe he was missing. I did hear a strong bass but it must have been coming from one of the six strings.

They did play some great stuff; covers about drinking, honky-tonk tunes about Jesus, rock and roll music with a country attitude. Always they had strong guitars and some good vocal harmony.

Jared Nelson was the lead vocalist and played a lot of lead guitar while filling in rhythm too. He also  played psychedelic country guitar, it was a great mash up of genres. He really belted the vocals too. He had a great stage presence especially given his costume, I had to run around after their set to get a pic of him without the mask. That is him below letting off some of the accumulated steam, in the center.

Simon Henneman was also laying down the killer licks on his six-string. He played a dynamite psychedelic solo on the last tune; on his knees, he blasted some insanely great stuff. He came dressed as Dale Chihuly.
Here is a link to Dale Chihuly, a famous Seattle artist:

The pedal steel player was awesome, the high-whiny strains were perfectly played for both the style of the music, and for the fact it was Halloween. Olie Eshelman also played a traditional six-string on several tunes. He was dressed as Clint Eastwood in his Spaghetti Western Series. He even had the chair from Clint's recent stint at the GOP convention.

I had seen the drummer and his wife mugging for the camera earlier. She was all dolled up, I think they were in prohibition-period costume, I could be wrong. She was as cute as a bug.

Chuck Pinnell laid the bottom for the band and kept them honest with his steady and creative percussion. He also added vocals, singing harmony with Jared. They were having a good time, you could tell how much fun they had by the exuberant performance.

Jared hit the mike with his face several times, he had mentioned that it was hard to see in that mask. He was a good sport to keep it on through the whole set. It would have made me crazy.

I loved this band...dirty country. Not the pure (boring) Toby Keith stuff. They tossed in blues and rock, maybe a little punk, but the one characteristic that kept showing up was psychedelia. Jared and Simon would add awesome soaring guitar to these country tunes, screaming riffs that just rang my bell. Ding, ding!

The crowd loved them too, a big response every tune with dancers in front of the stage for the whole set. You can see Contraband Countryband here:

There were some great costumes being worn by the kiddies this evening. I asked these cute girls if I could have a pic.

I caught this girl who was dressed as one of the characters from Avatar, she was changing her wig when I spied this beautiful tattoo.

Here is the dancing crowd with Matt (in back) at the sound board.

It was partially thrilling and really disturbing to see Country Lips take the stage. The Insane Clown Posse look was a little frightening, especially if you don't like clowns anyway. I am currently not a clown lover, but I knew the music they played. I warmed up to this band of clowns after the first note.

The had released a little fog just as they were warming up. It didn't take much to get thick, something the guy next to me welcomed. It made it hard to get a great pic.

Alex sang lead vocals on One Woman Man, now look at his smile as he crooned this tune. This was happy music, your soul was beaming when you are in the arms of Country Lips.

Miles, the drummer came up for some vocals. They did a great version of Too Much Water Under the Bridge. He and the lead singer (I may not be able to match names to the face/instrument after this) also performed a Buck Owens tune, really fun and had the peeps rocking.

 I have the names of the band members but cannot identify all. I am going by memory and they don't identify on their Facebook page. Country Lips is: Austin "Sheriff" Jacobsen (I think lead vocals and guitar), Trevor Pendras, Sarah Brown, Miles Burnett, Hamilton Boyce, Thomas Beecham, Alex Leake, Jonah Byrne and Kenny Aramaki. All these folks were not on stage when I saw them this Halloween party. I counted seven. If you can help me give credit to those who deserve it please chime in in the comment section below.

One of my favorite tunes was I'm so glad you are gone. They have a killer country sound that is played with great humor and style. Even in those crazy costumes, Ok especially in those cringe-inducing costumes, they were were radiating happy.

Nobody was having more fun than the fiddle player, he had a big grin on his face all night. There he is picking his fiddle, second from the left.

They had a killer keyboard player. I loved the menu of musicians, the piano added another great layer to an already fine mix. Here she is on the far right tinkling the ivory.

The crowd was up and jumping the whole set. The dance bug got to everyone and there wasn't a butt on a chair in the whole place. There were some hilarious costumes, loved the guy who had a KFC bucket on his head...nice Fez!

They did a great cover of File Gumbo, it had the place crazy; the dancers sweating and rocking. They are an awesome party band. I ended up close o the stage, infected with their brand of wonderful music.

See Country Lips here, buy their CD and see them as soon as you can, you will get happy like I did.

One last pic of a cute little bug:

I will be back to the Blue Moon soon; good music and a nice friendly place to relax, dance and drink. See them here:

Next week I plan to review of one of my favorite bands The 1Uppers who play on Saturday night with another fave; The Western Bluebirds. I am anxious to see my friends Liam, Nick, and Jon do what they do best (always my recommendation).

See some live music soon!


  1. Kory Christian/ Dale Chihuly = Simon Henneman

  2. Thanks for your post, I have a friend who has been looking into live music in seattle and got me curious about it too. Looks like there is some great music going on! Do you have any recommendations for my friend in his quest to find the best live music there? I'm sure he'd love to know more about it, thanks!

  3. One of the places I get info on venues and shows is on Facebook; MLA Booking (music lovers alliance) has great listings for live events, I check with them at the end of every week to see what they have listed. I also check out the music listings at The I have my favorite venues and always check them first; Darrells Tavern, The Sunset, Conor Byrne, Slims Last Chance, The Tractor, the 2 Bit...

  4. What a blast...and great costumes! Only clown I liked was J.P. Patches.

  5. Cool costumes indeed. Seems like it was a fun night with all those dance bands performing. Thanks for sharing :]


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